A high-ranking United Nations official says he is concerned about Israeli settlers’ relentless attacks on Palestinian farmers and their olive trees.
UN Special Envoy to the Middle East Robert Serry said in a statement, sent to reporters, on Sunday that Israel must do more to protect Palestinians and their property in the occupied West Bank, The Associated Press reported.
Nearly 500,000 Israeli settlers live in more than 100 colonies illegally built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
According to an Israeli rights group, since the harvest season began on October 10, the extremist Israelis have either damaged or uprooted at least 450 olive trees owned by the Palestinians.
Every year Israeli settlers, mostly armed, carry out attacks during harvest season. Most of the attacks take place close to settlements in the occupied West Bank. Tel Aviv rarely arrests the assailants.
On Saturday, Israeli settlers torched dozens of Palestinian olive trees in the occupied West Bank.
According to local villagers, settlers torched the trees at several spots simultaneously.
Security officials said evidence pointed to an arson attack by residents of the neighboring settlement of Ee-Lai.
The attack happened a few days after the cutting-down of almost 70 olive trees in the same village.